The Magic Cafe, 110 Magdalen Road, Oxford OX4 1RQ

The Magic Cafe, Oxford

Tucked away on the south side of Oxford, in a triangulate town and gown estate that is commonly referred to as “The Mystical Triangle”, The Magic Cafe is a throwback to the 60′s beards-and-sandals type of vegetarianism and would equal, and better, anything found in that other hippy hypercentre: Glastonbury High Street.

The vegetarian menu in The Magic Cafe changes each day. When I visited it recently there was a Tibetan Chickpea Soup, a large tray of fresh Sushi and a Leak and Potato (and cheese) Bake, as well as a good selection of salad dishes.

The Magic Cafe, Tibetan Chickpea Soup

The Magic Cafe, Tibetan Chickpea Soup

The vegan Tibetan Chickpea Soup was smooth and slightly spiced, warming and tasty. The two side salads I had, the Chickpea and Cous Cous, and the Green Salad with hand drizzled oils, were both fresh and enjoyable.

Lunch at the Magic Cafe was a pleasant experience – good food, a relaxed atmosphere, nice staff, a mix of alternative locals, students and lecturers alike. I would assume that most of their footfall is from Oxford’s vibrant term-time student population, eager for some good cheap alternative food and a cool, local and alternative venue for live music.

The Magic Cafe sits in a triangle wedge of houses starting from Oxford’s Magdalen Bridge and defined by the Iffley Road and Cowley Road, both of these streets deserve a further look. Cowley Road is particularly interesting with a lot of multicultural restaurants and eating places – including a Rastafarian Cafe with vegan options, a Russian Bar, a new Japanese restaurant, as well as Italian, Polish and Indian, Spanish, Mexican and Chinese restaurants – that’s a lot of choice for this seasonal student market.

The Magic Cafe, Oxford

The Magic Cafe, Oxford

In the centre of the triangle, as well as The Magic Cafe, there is the joss stick scented, mystic oriented, bookshop next door, and, opposite, the weirdly named “Rusty Bicycle” pub – all pointing to a nucleus of hippy culture formed in a supportive 60′s Oxford environment years ago.

The Magic Cafe is a pleasant local vegetarian cafe and is worth a visit if you are a vegetarian or student and you live in the south of Oxford; or, maybe, if you are visiting Oxford, fancy a nice light lunch and would be up for a slightly long “Park-and-Walk” into Oxford’s city centre via Magdalen Bridge.

[MP. August 2009.]

4 Responses to “The Magic Cafe”

  1. Ruth Winnifrith Says:

    The pub opposite is not called the Wonky Bicycle it is the Rusty Bicycle

  2. veggieopolis Says:

    Thanks for that Ruth, I’ve ammended the copy. Mark.

  3. CovOx Says:

    As a native of Oxford who lives in Coventry, I’m not sure about the ‘nucleus of hippy culture formed in a supportive 60’s Oxford environment years ago’. A stereotypical and inaccurate view of my former home city. The Magic Cafe wasn’t there in the 80′s never mind the 60′s. When I visited it a few years ago, it was definitely laid back though. I asked for something vegan and it was like, ‘er well yeah, the soup might be’. How can you resist an offer like that?

    The one thing that hasn’t changed on Magdalen Road is Giovanni’s barber’s shop which must be run by his grandson by now; it was run by his son why I used to get my barnet cut there. The Inner Bookshop used to be located on the Cowley Road, which has always been a bit of a dive – a ‘multicultural’ dive in modern PC parlance – but still a dive. Still it used to have a half-decent second hand record shop called (I think) Vinyl 3345, where I built up my collection of Buzzcocks records.

    Yes, the Iffley Road, just up from which I went to secondary school, is also part of the ‘bohemian’ slumlord-owned bedsitland. Think the bottom end of Earlsdon and you get the picture of the area. This ‘mystical triangle’ – the first time I have ever heard it as that – is not as bad a place to live as Blackbird Leys, but I much prefer living up here in Cov, as it is a much better place to live in terms of the standard of living you can get for the same money, re housing costs etc.

    CovOx, Coundon

  4. Ian Says:

    Since last year it’s changed hands and is now owned run by two women, Jahan and Deki. Jahan was the cook since 2010. Mains now cost £5.70, soups £3, desserts about £2, and coffee £1.50. It’s been repainted but otherwise seems much the same as ever.
    I was last there on 16/1/15

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